TROUBLE VIII

When I’m assured that he’s really gone this time, I allow myself to come apart. In my crouched position, perched on the tips of my toes, my face is inches from the ground.

I’ve heard putting your head in between your legs helps if you’re hyperventilating. Which I most certainly am not. Because it would be stupid to freak out over a guy you only met a day ago.

In the muddled mess of my emotions right now, underneath all the righteous anger, I’m mostly mortified. I mean, he’s right. Of course, he could have put it better, but he’s right. I heave out a sigh. Anyway, there’s no use crouching here and feeling sorry for myself.

I pull myself up and clear up the plates and dishes. Might as well clean it up so it looks like nothing ever happened. (Let’s pretend that nothing ever happened.)

As I pull my tired, weary self up the stairs (avoiding any place Bubble head Toni might have stained in drunk mistakes), I think about whether or not I should leave. Wouldn’t it be really awkward? But where else would I stay? How would I meet his eyes again? Ugh. I push those thoughts away and focus on the thought of Toni being horrible in bed. Because Lolu is still annoyingly perfect. It’s sickening.

Once I’m finally cocooned in my bed, in my comfy, pijamas and my headphones in my ears (I am blasting Pink Rabbits by the Nationals, yes I like to feel sad) I allow myself to shed one tiny little itty bitty tear. But of course, soon enough, I’m bawling and snot is dripping down my nose and I can’t breathe. Fun stuff. Crying is my stress relief, don’t judge me. Naturally, I cry myself to sleep.
***

“Hey.”

“Hey, Adure”, a sexy British voice intones, waking me up.

I open my eyes to Lolu peering down at me, with a slight frown on his face.

“You look like shit, are you okay? Did you catch a cold, or something?”

Charming. He raises his hand as if to feel my​ forehead for my temperature. I swat his hand away as I sit up.

“What?” I don’t mean for my voice to come out sharp, but of course, it is.

“Ah, well, I made you breakfast. It’s downstairs if you want some. It’s past ten so I’m not apologizing for waking you up.”

I groan and cover my head with my duvet, leaving my hand free to shoo him away.

A grin slowly forms on his face like he can’t help it. He says in a booming and theatrical voice, “Is THAT my thanks for being SUCH a gracious and accommodating and handsome and sexy and generally pleasing HOST? Surely, lady, you jest. I’ve never been so disrespected in my life.”

I flip him the bird because wtf I just woke up.

“WHY, ADURE, such uncouth manners from a young lady! Whatever would your mother say??”

I throw a pillow at his head just as he closes the door, causing me to miss. Well, I’m awake now, dammit.

I shower quickly and meet him downstairs. I check around for any sign of Bubble headed idiot (I know, my snide remarks are lacking) but she’s nowhere to be found. Lolu notices me noticing her absence and says, “What? Toni? She already left.” His voice turns hard. “I don’t make it a habit to play house with my play things.”

“Can you not be such an ass?”

He smirks. “Are you going to do something about it? Like make me pasta?”

Eyyy. That’s going too far. I understand my mistake, but rubbing in the fact is uncalled for.

I shake my head and pile some food on my plate. “I’m leaving. I’ll be out of your hair by noon, latest.”

“Oh, so that’s it? A little challenge, a little pushing, and you just run away? You’re acting like you’ve never had to deal with someone being mean to you.”

“That’s not what this is about-”

“Yes it is! You’re just hanging back and swallowing everything like a good little girl.”

“WHY SHOULD IT EVEN MATTER TO YOU?”

“Because I hurt you, dammit. And it feels like you just want to pretend it never happened.”

“That doesn’t sound like an apology.”

“It’s not, at least not yet. I want you to have a problem with it. Pick a fight with me.”

“I don’t want to, it’s not worth it.” I pick up my fork and start forking some food in my mouth.

He sneers at me in disgust, over the rim of his apple juice, and picks at his eggs and bacon. Why did he even bother to make breakfast for me if he’s going to act like a little bitch?

“Maybe I shouldn’t have shot you down so fast yesterday. Since you’re so good at laying back and taking it, I could have had you for seconds.”

I wasn’t even aware I’d stood up until my hand is landing across his face. He stares at me in shock, his eyes wide and mirroring my own. I’m hardly violent (I would probably die if I was, lol), but there are limits, LIMITS. Anger replaces the shock. How dare he?

“How dare you? Who do you think you are? Talking about women with that tone and that look on your face. Acting like you know it all. What, you think there’s something wrong with me? That I can’t stand up for myself? You don’t KNOW me. Your mother would be ashamed-”

He cuts in softly, “Don’t bring up my mother.” He breathes in, he breathes out. Touches his cheek. It’s at this moment I realise I’ve never seen Lolu look actually serious. I’ve seen him around campus a bunch of times and he always has this playful glint in his eye. It’s scary to finally see.

He looks up at me. “I’m sorry. Forgive me?” The emotions in his eyes show me he is absolutely sincere. Well, there’s nothing else to it. I sit back down, all the anger gone, feeling like a deflated balloon.

He touches my hand, “I really am sorry, I crossed a line. I just really wanted to get a reaction out of you. I’ve seen you around, yes, I see you watching me-” He winks. “- and you always have this superficial look to you. You’re happy, yes, but textbook happy. Like you live in this bubble. Like it’s a mask. And I know a thing or two about masks.” He pauses, takes a deep breath. “Yesterday was unacceptable. I could blame it on a number of things but the bottom line is that I hurt you. That is not okay. But I don’t want you to run away from this. Don’t leave.”

Well. I feel a bit overwhelmed and I’m not sure what to think. It’s weird to know that someone has been observing me so closely. But yeah, I don’t feel the need to leave anymore.

“Okay, I’ll stay.”

“Great. Let’s be good friends, Adure.”

“Sure, Lolu.”

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